/ @HSELive told us they are planning a Coronavirus super-app. They have prepared a data protection impact assessment, but are witholding it for now. They should publish it now and listen to the public’s views. Otherwise they will launch their app half-cocked.
— DigitalRightsIreland (@DRIalerts) April 10, 2020
HSE logo; excerpt from letter that the HSE has sent Digital Rights Ireland; tweet from DRI
In the past hour.
The Irish Times has reported that Digital Rights Ireland has received a response from the HSE, following on from the DRI writing to the HSE about its planned contact-tracing app.
The DRI wrote about the HSE’s “heavy obligation” in relation to the app’s privacy and data protection and asked for any documentation pertaining to the app’s Data Protection Impact Assessment to be forwarded to the DRI. The DRI also offered to assist the HSE.
In its response, the HSE said it will publish the app’s Data Protection Impact Assessment when the app is launched.
Jack Horgan-Jones reports:
Antoin O Lachtain, a spokesman for Digital Rights Ireland, told The Irish Times that according to information given to the group by the HSE, “they are planning to build a ‘super-app’ which will be much more comprehensive thant the contact tracing app which was originally discussed”.
…It will also delete all identifiable data from the app once the pandemic is over, the HSE said in its letter. “We are very keen to ensure that the potentially lifesaving app has public support and would welcome your positive input once we publish the relevant documentation and the app,” the HSE wrote in its letter.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday…
At 4.18pm today, the HSE responded as follows:
As part of the national response to Covid-19, work is underway to develop a new national mobile app for Ireland that will allow citizens to track their symptoms in real-time, and to digitally trace close contacts.
This will assist in national contact tracing efforts in the weeks and months ahead, as we move forward from the containment and mitigation phases of the public health response to Covid-19. The HSE is carrying out final security and product testing of the CovidTracker Ireland App.
The mobile app is being designed as a key element of the next phase of Irish national public health response. The power of the app lies in its capacity to provide early insight into the spread of Covid-19 and in its ability to enable the health services speed up and improve contact tracing.
The CovidTracker Ireland App will:
• help the health service with its efforts in Contact Tracing for people who are confirmed cases
• allow a user to record how well they are feeling, or track their symptoms every day
• provide links to advice if the user has symptoms or is feeling unwell
• give the user up-to-date information about the virus in Ireland
The Irish app will be designed in a way that maximises privacy as well as maximising value for public health. Privacy-by-design is a core principle underpinning the design of the CovidTracker Ireland App – which will operate on a voluntary and fully opt-in basis. The objective is to put in place a single official national Covid-19 mobile phone App for the population.
The CovidTracker Ireland App will be a vital part of our collective efforts to slow the spread of Covid-19, support our goal to flatten the curve, and hasten the easing of restrictions across the country.
Intensive work is underway in the Health Service Executive and across the Department of Health with direct support from the Office of Government Chief Information Officer and other technical expertise across the public service.
The implementation timeline will be determined by the technical progress and the results from the security and product testing that is underway. When it is ready the Department of Health and the HSE will formally launch the app with clear instructions on how to download and use it.
The questions were:
1. Has the HSE responded to Digital Rights Ireland’s recent letter to HSE CEO Paul Reid about its concerns related to the app/s? What is the HSE’s response? Has the HSE taken up DRI’s offer to help?
2. When will the contract tracing app be rolled out? Has the HSE Covid-19 app been officially launched?
3. What is the purpose of the HSE Covid-19 app which appears to ask for symptoms and users’ location? Does the HSE have any more proposed apps related to Covid-19 in the pipeline?
4. What specific data will be gathered from this app/these apps? How exactly will they work?
5. How will the data be stored?
6. Will there be a time-limit on how long the data will be stored?
7. Will the data be shared with anyone else, any other organisation or any other Government department or agency such as An Garda Síochána?
8. Who would be the controllers and processors of the data collected by this app/these apps?
9. We understand that the HSE has been in contact with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner about the contract tracing app. Could the HSE outline the extent of these communications? Did the HSE liaise with the DPC in relation to the HSE Covid-19 app? Did the HSE liaise with any other privacy experts/advocates about the tracing app or any other apps?
10. What evidence does the HSE have that such apps contribute to limiting the spread of Covid-19?
11. How will the HSE ensure the app/apps are proportionate, necessary and in line with GDPR rules?
12. Did the HSE carry out a Data Protection Impact Assessment in respect of the app/s and will this/these be published?
Previously: Track And Trace